Dick Clark, who died Wednesday at 82, was called "America's oldest teenager." That's not only because he looked so good late into life, but also because he carried with him the teen memories of those of us who grew up watching "American Bandstand" on glorious black-and-white, small-screen television sets.
Every weekday afternoon, I would arrive home from school, say hello to Mom, grab a snack and plop down in front of the TV to watch a dance show broadcast live from South Philadelphia.
Liberals have leapt on the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida to push for the repeal of "stand your ground" laws and to demand tighter gun control. (MSNBC'S Karen Finney blamed "the same people who stymied gun regulation at every point.") This would be like demanding more funding for the General Services Administration after seeing how its employees blew taxpayer money on a party weekend in Las Vegas.
We don't know the facts yet, but let's assume the conclusion MSNBC is leaping to is accurate: George Zimmerman stalked a small black child and murdered him in cold blood, just because he was black.
If that were true, every black person in America should get a gun and join the National Rifle Association, America's oldest and most august civil rights organization.
It's difficult to be a good economist and simultaneously be perceived as compassionate. To be a good economist, one has to deal with reality. To appear compassionate, often one has to avoid unpleasant questions, use "caring" terminology and view reality as optional.
Affordable housing and health care costs are terms with considerable emotional appeal that politicians exploit but have absolutely no useful meaning or analytical worth. For example, can anyone tell me in actual dollars and cents the price of an affordable car, house or myomectomy? It's probably more pleasant to pretend that there is universal agreement about what is or is not affordable.
Stop the presses: Big-spending Democrats are finally up in arms over a federal boondoggle. Details of the U.S. General Services Administration bacchanalia get worse by the day. We've graduated from overpriced breakfasts in Vegas, friends-and-family junkets galore and in-house videos mocking their own profligacy to extravagant bonuses, alleged kickbacks, obstructionism and bribes.
But the scandal is still small potatoes compared to the potential billions GSA is pouring down the Big Labor drain.
Of all the myriad scandals of the Obama administration, there is one, largely ignored by the mainstream media, that could actually be its worst.
That scandal is the operation run from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the Justice Department, known as "Fast and Furious," through which the federal government actually encouraged and even ordered American gun shops to sell guns — against the store owners' better judgment — to "straw" purchasers who were funneling guns to Mexican drug gangs while the ATF sat back and watched and did nothing.
President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department have a new obsession to obstruct any state's passing of voter identification laws, even recently attacking South Carolina and my own state of Texas. Holder calls voter ID laws "unnecessary" and says voter fraud "doesn't exist," but new video proof in his own voting precinct proves otherwise.
Obama's administration says it's against voter ID laws because it is trying valiantly to keep minorities and the poor from being unfairly discriminated against. But the truth is that it is trying to keep President Obama in office. It knows that voter IDs are bad business for this White House's campaign and re-election.
Virtually everything said and done in a presidential election year distorts the truth, much like concave and convex mirrors in a carnival attraction alter one's true reflection.
That kind of distortion occurred in the recent dustup over whether women who choose to stay at home can completely understand the economic challenges and personal struggles faced by women who choose, or need, to work outside the home while raising children.
Any doubt that Mitt Romney would win the Republican presidential nomination vanished when Rick Santorum left the race. It also marked the end of Romney's time as the defining figure in the overall contest for the White House.
The GOP nomination process was seen by many as a competition between Romney and an entertaining cast of I'm Not Mitt Romney challengers. Questions were raised about Romney's perceived weaknesses and whether he could win over the hearts and votes of conservatives. But now President Obama moves to center stage and becomes the defining figure of the general election campaign. Now it's about Obama, not Romney, as the election becomes primarily a referendum on his first term in office.
All is bleak. All is woe! I speak of the tea party movement, the movement of 2009 and 2010 that was the hot news story of those years and led to the Republican rout of the Democrats in 2010. Now the tea party movement is, according to reports in the media, in decline.
Was it extremist? Was it racist? Distinguished Americans such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton said it was. Yet their evidence when it came under objective scrutiny kept falling apart, as so many of their hoaxes over the years have fallen apart — Ms. Tawana Brawley, the 1979-80 Atlanta killings supposedly by local cops who spent their leisure hours in the Ku Klux Klan. I cannot think of another couple of hucksters who have adduced so much evidence of heinous behavior by the American majority only to have the evidence go poof! The tea party movement was neither extremist nor racist. In fact, it was what Americans look like when they suddenly become alive to politics: somewhat amateurish, terrifically enthusiastic and eventually quite serious about practicing the political arts at the local level, in Madison, Wis., in Waco, Texas, in Tucson, Ariz. — all locales far, far away from Washington, D.C. Though I have reason to suspect that the tea partyers may return to Washington after the November elections. Read on.
In a fast-changing world, a common mistake is to keep fighting the last war.
For example, why would Republicans support sending more troops to Afghanistan, when that war was long over, or helping topple Moammar Gadhafi, who had become an ally in the war on terrorism? Some Republicans seem to support all military deployments just out of habit.
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- Here, where Titanic, the massive White Star Line luxury liner, was built -- the joke for years has been, "It was fine when it left here." This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship "Not even God himself could sink...." and the centenary is being observed in diverse ways.
There are solemn remembrances. A "Requiem for the Lost Souls of the Titanic" is scheduled for St. Anne's Cathedral and there's a Titanic Commemoration Service and Unveiling of the Titanic Memorial Gardens at City Hall.
In my column two weeks ago, "Not All Presidential Orders Are Created Equal," I discussed some specifics in President Barack Obama's March 16 executive order, "National Defense Resources Preparedness," and how it is a completely audacious overreach of presidential power, especially enacting peacetime martial law.
Here I will discuss why analysts are wrong for simply overlooking it as a benign order similar to other presidents' orders.
Can anyone think of an innocuous reason that President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder oppose state voter ID laws?
Obama and Holder appear to view almost everything through the prism of race or, at the very least, use race as an excuse to justify otherwise very dubious policies, from immigration enforcement to voter intimidation actions to strong-arming banks to make loans via allegations of racism.
As Mitt Romney assumes the role of presumptive Republican nominee, polls suggest a competitive general election matchup between the former Massachusetts governor and President Obama. Typically, both candidates poll in the mid-40s, while 10 to 12 percent remain uncommitted to either side.
Among these uncommitted voters, Rasmussen Reports polling shows that just 22 percent approve of the way the president is handling his job. Seventy-two percent (72 percent) disapprove. As for intensity, just 2 percent strongly approve, and 40 percent strongly disapprove.
There are some campaign advisers who would counsel former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to jog on the campaign trail tirelessly, probably in short pants and with a catchy T-shirt emblazoned with some memorable phrase, say, "Fred Fna Ate Here," a la Al Gore and Bill Clinton. Jimmy Carter started the presidential candidates' jogging craze, and since him there have been a horde of presidential joggers, all wearing little boys' outfits, the notable exception being Ronald Reagan — possibly because, as he campaigned from 1976 on, he was considered too old to be president. On the other hand, the old cowboy had a sense of dignity that all other would-be presidents in recent years have lacked. Perhaps Romney should be photographed windsurfing as John Kerry was in 2004 and downing shots of firewater as Hillary Clinton did in 2008. Or he could filch a page from President-elect Vladimir Putin and campaign shirtless. Adopt the he-man look, Mitt!
Alas, Romney is a normal middle-aged American. He is the kind of man we all would like to have live next door. Facts are facts; all the aforesaid candidates save Reagan and now Romney are weird! Americans do not mind having them wearing funny hats and eating ethnic food on the campaign trail, but almost no American would want them as neighbors. Not so Romney. He would be welcome in our neighborhoods and maybe even trusted with a key to the house. Romney is NORMAL.
The reason tea partiers carried signs saying "Read the Constitution!" was that we were hoping people would read the Constitution.
Alas, we still have Rick Santorum saying Obamacare is the same as what he calls "Romneycare"; the otherwise brilliant Mickey Kaus sniffing that if states can mandate insurance purchases, then we're "not talking about some basic individual liberty to not purchase stuff" (no, just the nation's founding document, which protects "basic individual liberties" by putting constraints on Congress); and the former law professor, Barack Obama, alleging that a "good example" of judicial activism would be the Supreme Court (in his words, "a group of people") overturning "a duly constituted and passed law."
In his excellent daily Web news summary, "The Transom," Ben Domenech says that President Obama's speech at the Portland Museum of Art on Saturday "is likely to be Obama's campaign speech from here on out." He's probably correct, so let's take a look, with an eye to whether it's likely to work.
Obama's template is nothing new. He first repeats his claim as to the catastrophic conditions he inherited from President Bush. "It's hard to remember sometimes how perilous things were when I was sworn in."
Though I have concern that every American citizen has affordable health care, too, I have grave concerns about the opinion that the federal government holds the true solution.
History shows that whenever government oversees personal welfare (such as with Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and Social Security), the program is inept, broken, intrusive, impersonalized, oppressive or often bankrupt.
Right now, there isn't enough known about the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a black, by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old part-Hispanic, during his neighborhood watch tour in an Orlando, Fla., suburb. If evidence emerges that Zimmerman's actions were not justified, he should be prosecuted and punished; however, there's a larger issue that few people understand or have the courage to acknowledge, namely that black and young has become synonymous with crime and, hence, suspicion. To make that connection does not make one a racist. Let's look at it.
Twelve years ago, a black Washington, D.C., commissioner warned cabbies, most of whom were black, against picking up dangerous-looking passengers. She described "dangerous-looking" as a "young black guy ... with shirttail hanging down longer than his coat, baggy pants, unlaced tennis shoes." She also warned cabbies to stay away from low-income black neighborhoods. Did that make the D.C. commissioner a racist?